MT. VERNON — Students at Mt. Vernon Township High School achieved an average composite score of 19 on the ACT exams this past spring, a slight increase over the prior two years' scores, said Principal Wes Olson.
Olson delivered a detailed report on ACT scores at Monday night's MVTHS Board of Education meeting. He said the upward trend in scores is a favorable sign for the district.
“We're excited and happy about the progress our students have made and the hard work our faculty and staff have put in to make that happen,” Olson said.
This year, the state has changed the way it calculates ACT scores.
The score composite now includes students who were granted an extended time period to take the test. This extension is typically for students with disabilities. In prior years, these test takers were not factored into a school's overall composite score.
For spring 2013, the MVTHS composite ACT score was 19 including all test takers. Without the extended time students, the school's average score was 19.9.
In 2012, the MVTHS composite ACT score was 18.8 and the year before that it was 18.5. These scores did not include extended time students.
“These are the highest ACT scores we've seen in eight years,” said Superintendent Michael Smith of the 2013 scores. “We feel really good about that.”
Olson attributed the increase to several factors, including the district's “inclusion model” for instruction.
This refers to how MVTHS students with disabilities are placed in “co-taught” classes with non-disabled students so they get exposure to the general education curriculum, Olson said.
Another important factor is the preparation students receive prior to the ACT test their junior year.
They take two assessment tests a year during their freshman, sophomore, and junior years. Of these, only the Prairie State Achievement Examination, which includes the ACT, is a state mandated test.